What is the most important issue in the forthcoming Cambridgeshire County Council elections? The £2,000,000 per year interest charge for the Misguided Bus that may never be recovered? No. The £1,000 per pupil funding shortfall for secondary schools? No. How Cambridge will expand over the next decade? No, it’s residents’ parking.
Sheila Lawlor, the Conservative candidate in Market Ward, makes the astonishing statement that she will ‘Take whatever action is needed so residents can park.’ I would imagine she is talking about car parking, which is a shame as there is considerable demand for cycle parking too.
Meanwhile Ed Cearns, the Liberal Democrat candidate, believes he can ‘…make the city centre an even better place to live by easing parking problems for residents…’
Labour’s Dan Ratcliffe supports the upgrading of the A14, which is likely to ‘set back a long way‘ public transport, cycling and walking in the city centre according to Tim Bick (leader of the City Council).
This motorism, addiction to motoring, is odd since the lack of cars and traffic is part of what gives the city centre its character. It’s also odd as we may have reached Peak Car so this expansion of parking is beginning to look like a policy from the last century and not one for the future. The candidates also seem to be re-enforcing the idea that residents own the piece of tarmac outside their house. It’s not the County Council’s responsibility to find you a place to park your car any more than it is their responsibility to find space for your 42″ TV.
It is also surprising as the March 2011 Census tells us that 40% of households in the Market area do not have a car or van. So who’s going to represent those against the privatisation of the public highway?